Dorel (aka Cannondale) Confirms Guru Acquisition to Improve Fit, Retail Experience

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Well, we guessed right, and today the Dorel group has announced their acquisition of Guru’s fit technology and the brand name.

Their plan is to roll out the system to CSG accounts first then expand it to any bike shop that wants to offer the service. And why would a non-CSG (Cannondale Sports Group) account want it?

In a nutshell, their fit system will not only help you get fit down to the smallest detail on your existing bike, but it’ll also spit out recommendations of specific brands and models that will fit you perfectly. Those recommendations aren’t limited to CSG brands, it pulls from a growing database (over 1,000 models as of this post) to find the best bike for the rider. Their goal is to make it a comprehensive list of all brands and they’ll pull frame measurements from brand’s websites if that brand doesn’t care to share frame drawings with them for obvious competitive reasons.

For the retailer, it drastically simplifies the sales process by making it crystal clear what bike, brand, model and size is best and which components make it just right. The result should be a customer that’s totally stoked on their bike and leave with a great impression of the shop and stick with cycling for the long term.

As for Guru bikes, they’ll continue to operate as a separate entity and license the name back from Dorel. CSG’s goal with this acquisition was to quickly enter the fitting service segment without developing their own system from scratch.

Click thru for the full PR…

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PRESS RELEASE: Dorel announced today the acquisition and launch of the new GURU Experience, an advanced personalized bike fitting and consultative retail system that will help consumers reach their peak performance. The GURU Experience eliminates the frustration and continual trial-and-error process of finding the right cycling equipment for each individual. An innovative approach to bicycle shopping, it provides consumers with the ideal retail and cycling experience.

“We’re thrilled to launch the GURU Experience, an important step for Dorel Recreational/Leisure,” said Robert Baird, Group President and CEO, Dorel Recreational/Leisure. “The GURU Experience is a revolutionary leap forward in bicycle purchasing and owning. The way consumers shop is changing radically in and outside the cycling industry. GURU is the centerpiece of our overall goal of meeting the needs of consumers and our retailers and transforming bicycle shopping.”

The GURU Experience is driven by a highly individualized technology-assisted discovery process that helps the consumer identify the ideal bike, based upon their own unique body flexibility and type, personal goals, ability level and riding style. The first step for each consumer is to sit with a GURU Experience retail consultant and discuss everything from medical history, to athletic background, to fitness goals and budget. The next step is the automated fitting unit. At the heart of the GURU Experience, this unit features real time “on the fly” adjustability, creating a seamless, iterative loop of precise adjustment and feedback tailored to the individual cyclist. The real time adjustments replicate the actual motion of cycling, so the rider instantly feels and reacts to every precise equipment alteration, ensuring the perfect ride and optimized athletic performance.

The automated unit is coupled with GURU’s proprietary software. Once the consumer completes the automated fitting, the software will provide a detailed, comprehensive assessment of existing bicycles and products which best meet his fitting profile and goals. The GURU Experience software has universal application, ensuring customers can identify and choose bicycles from any brand. With specially trained GURU Fitting Consultants and consistent yet personalized procedures, GURU engages everyone from casual riders just discovering the sport to the dedicated athlete trying to maximize performance and competitive potential.

Long-term Resource

The GURU Experience doesn’t stop after the initial purchase. It’s a long-term resource for the consumer with incremental benefits beyond the initial experience. Consumers will have access to training, progress updates, coaching, bike forums and additional ongoing cycling resources.

“GURU brings the bike buying process to an entirely new level for consumers, where they have access to significantly more optimized customer service, and the most advanced equipment and processes available for becoming the best rider they can be, no matter their fitness level or experience,” said Scott Rice, Director Advanced Product Development, Dorel Recreational/Leisure. “Our consumer insights research shows that fit is the most frustrating part of the shopping experience for consumers. Adding more certainty to the experience of purchasing a bicycle will take the guess work out for consumers and ensure their long-term satisfaction.”

Elevated Through Partnerships

The GURU Experience is supported by partners including F.I.S.T., SRAM, Fi’zi:k, Zipp and TBC (Training Bible Coaching). In particular, the fitting philosophy and training program for the GURU Experience was developed in cooperation with Dan Empfield, founder of F.I.S.T. (Fit Institute Slow Twitch). Motion and video capture give the rider instant feedback and takeaway verification of their unique fit profile, while bike recommendation software and GURU/F.I.S.T. trained consultants ensure that every customer leaves with a bike that fits his or her physical size, shape and style of riding.

Comments

Nick C - 09/19/12 - 3:37pm

i hope tony got a payday finally.

will - 09/19/12 - 4:09pm

any shop that is contemplating on getting a dfu should contact a current dfu and see what their thoughts are. im not implying good or bad. any dfu owners/guru dealers care to chime in? are you upset about this? do you feel the dfu no longer has a level of exclusivity now? or is this a good thing for you? do you think scot rice is on the right path? the article seems to cover every base except cost. maybe just an oversight.

Gillis - 09/19/12 - 4:21pm

I love how the wheel doesn’t even have a chain-tensioner on it.

John P - 09/19/12 - 4:58pm

Gillis –

It fairly obviously has horizontal dropouts.

So is Guru the bike company finished?

They were a tough company to get a hold of for warranty work and many of my friends had issues with their bikes.

Brandon - 09/19/12 - 6:07pm

Gillis: Why would it need a chain tensioner? It’s in a “horizontal dropout” and bolted in.

Brandon - 09/19/12 - 6:08pm

I wonder if the dealer will still need to pony up $10k for the DFU unit while also committing to a huge number of frames for the next few years or they lose the unit?

Meta - 09/19/12 - 6:16pm

The Guru brand will hopefully vanish, poor QA and customer service, have really marginalized them. Maybe Dorel can break the monopoly Specialized/BG fit has on the fitting biz; I doubt it. Fitters make tons of money not from fitting, but from selling shoes, seatposts, saddles and pedals.

digi - 09/19/12 - 6:39pm

So tell me how an un-trained bike shop person with no fit or bio-mechanic knowledge nor specific knowledge of the riders cans and cants can operate this effectively? Answer, They Can’t. Fitting is far more than attaining a position, but being able to maintain it and being efficient in it. Typical Dorel thinking they can do something like this. It will fail, but it will be a pain in the ass until it does.

will - 09/19/12 - 6:42pm

brandon- according to an article on BRAIN “Retailers don’t pay anything upfront for the system, but must sign a two-year contract and pay $1,500 annually for the system and compensate Dorel with a portion of revenue earned from each fit.” Who will Dorel keep track of the revenue earned from each fit? I think its a pipe dream to think Dorel can cover the cost of this acquisition from 1500/yr and a percentage.

will - 09/19/12 - 8:33pm

amen digi

Brandon - 09/19/12 - 9:10pm

Will: Thanks for the info. It’ll be simple to keep track: Guru’s system is web-based and the dealer has to open an “account” for each person they fit, which then saves the fit numbers. Of course, all of this info has been housed at Guru and accessible online, so they know exactly how many people have been fit.

Ray - 09/19/12 - 9:34pm

Here, just take a seat on our ‘sybian’, sorry, I mean ‘fit device.’

Justice - 09/20/12 - 1:07am

Digi, but what if they pick shops with good fitters or even ex-BG-fit fitters?
It’s true this shouldn’t be cast upon non fitters without experience or training, but maybe it’s not going to be?

jdog - 09/20/12 - 7:41am

I am not 100% sold on this. Seems that an experienced fitter who does over 200 bike fittings a season might be just fine w/o this beast. Living in a digital world, this sure looks great though. I will say that some of the worst fitting disasters I have seen have been at the hands of Retul. So that might be part of my hesitance. Would you pay 2x or 3x the money for a fitting on this machine??

bc - 09/20/12 - 7:58am

@Brandon, that was my question too. As a former Guru dealer, I can tell you the nightmare that this machine caused. They took our money YEARS before it was ever available, and as time went on, cost went up, and eventually they required an order of something like FORTY frames, maybe more (can’t recall), which is basically impossible for even a super high-end shop like mine to sell, especially given the general low quality of the frames. I think that Guru still owes us $1k that we stopped bother trying to collect.

Maybe with this influx of cash, Guru can buy some pipe insulation and a double-ply cardboard box to wrap around their Photon frames before they ship those turds.

Having seen the machine in operation, it is probably worth the $10k for a shop that specializes in fittings. The ability to make on-the-fly adjustments in real time is pretty awesome, and would certainly ad another layer of certainty and maybe (pseudo?)-scientific analysis to the process.

BH - 09/20/12 - 8:17am

The tool is only as good as the person using it. I have a fully custom unit from Serotta, and I have done fittings with both it and just a trainer. The adjustability is nice, on the fly. Don’t know anything about the GURU unit.

will - 09/20/12 - 11:45am

@BH those are my thoughts as well. i have a dfu and love it but it took a massive commitment of time and money to learn how to use it properly. put in the hands of a shop that may not have either of those resources to spend on this, the dfu will be a bad investment for that them.

digi - 09/20/12 - 1:59pm

@justice: right in the article they say they are not doing that, Targeting Ex BG Fitters, or shops with talented and experienced fitters, but instead saying that anyone can get on this machine and be fit, with a lackey pushing a button and walking away. That’s the problem here. This is actually a cool machine, and could be used very effectively with a good fitter at the helm making sure they are applying the fit to individuals personal Bio-mechanic position. Its this that I take issue with. You do need at least a basic understanding of how the body works and how certain deficiencies effect the attainable position on the bike.

Take me for example, I am not very flexible, but put me in a position that pushes past that point where I shouldn’t be pushing, Past my limit of flexibility, I Gain 10 Watts of power, but I only have the ability to maintain this position for about 5-10 minutes, which is useless. So losing those 10 watts but being able to maintain if for hours is huge. This machine takes none of that into account, it just fits the bike, measures power and says there you go.

What if the rider has limited range of motion in their neck? How about lack of upper body strength but great flexibility, again, they may be able to attain that position, but being able to maintain it, they cant, which then becomes useless.

I’m not knocking the machine, in fact i think its great, but relying on it blindly without proper fit knowledge is a mistake and is a recipe for injury and people giving up on this great sport.

Chris - 09/29/12 - 4:31am

That machine doesn’t perform fits for people. You still need trained staff to properly fit customer on the machine. What it DOES do, is help staff quickly identify what bike(s) best fit a person once the proper fit is “located.” It uses a database of basically every production bike on the market, which is customizable to the bikes carried by each shop. Personally, I’m skeptical of its necessity, but for a shop with 2-3+ lines, it may be very handy in narrowing a search quickly.

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